Soooooo, one of my favorite movies is Pain & Gain. I watched it again recently, and without giving away too many spoilers I’m going to depict the main plot and why I think it’s a great concept to grasp. The movie is based on a group of body builders (fitting right?) working at the Sun Gym in Miami, Florida in 1995. The film states itself to be a true story multiple times throughout it’s run, and after reading more of the details of the events “loosely” based is more of an accurate description. However, the story is still very interesting none the less. The main characters of this body building trio are Daniel Lugo (Mark Whalberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson). The story’s main premise is one of Daniel Lugo’s desire to attain the American Dream and a rightful calling to a better life he thinks he’s destined for. Now before we go further and explain some of the details and plans he hopes to achieve this, let me just preface with saying I AM ONLY USING THE STORY AS A METAPHOR. Cool, now we’ve squared that away.
In the beginning, Lugo is the manager of the Sun Gym as a personal trainer, living a lower class way of life and barely making ends meet. Lugo is an avid believer in motivational speaker Jonny Wu’s philosophy of being a “Doer” and not a “Donter”. Multiple scenes showcase his pitiful life and the envy he has towards others more successful than him. Constantly obsessing with the American Dream and the riches others seem to have, Lugo hatches a plan to extort one of his wealthy clients to manifest his destiny and claim what is rightfully his. He recruits help from two other personal trainers at the gym, Doorbal and Doyle. The story is told with a dark and comedic undertone as the gang calculates and schemes their plans and fail multiple times in apprehending their victim, until they finally capture him and begin a month long series of torture and manipulation tactics to acquire his assets and assume his identity. Again, these methods to achieve your goals are not what I’m endorsing, however the ideology of seeing your potential, devising your plan to achieve them, and being relentless in your pursuit is what I’m advocating. Lets dive deeper…
In life we’re given many opportunities to either Do or Don’t. It’s as simple as that. We over complicate decisions with the shades of gray and the “what ifs”. We worry about what others are going to think, we worry about how it’s going to affect our day to day routines and our norms. And worst of all, we focus more about how we’re going to get there, rather than just starting somewhere. We stop short of our dreams simply by shutting ourselves down saying we couldn’t possibly achieve the highest summit of success. But why? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it, and I’ll probably still do it from time to time. But why do we do it? Daniel Lugo didn’t see it that way. He attended a motivational speaker’s seminar and realized the difference between him and the successful individuals he had idolized was not the opportunities they were given. Rather, it was their innate ability to Do rather than Don’t when opportunities arose. How many times have you been given an opportunity and rather than Doing, you became a “Donter”? I’ve done it so many times in my life I’m embarrassed to admit it. My entire childhood and young adult life I grew up very insecure and timid. I had no confidence to pursue anything, even passions or hobbies. I think one of the most prevalent examples of this from my past would be when I wanted to try out for the drum line Sophomore year of high school. I’ve been playing the drums since I was 11 or 12 and it’s one of my deepest passions in life. But as a young individual, I had no confidence in my ability or even my passion to share with anyone. I was so sure on the possibility of failing that I didn’t even let anyone in to show me more and help me grow. Until somehow my dad finally convinced me to try out as he saw my potential in me and challenged me to develop my talent into a skill. So I tried out my sophomore year and I made it! I knew I wasn’t the best and I had a lot to learn during the summer to catch up to some of the other guys there, but I had made it and I was hungry for more. By choosing to be a Doer one time I had changed my future’s outcome infinitely. Imagine if I had chosen to bail on that opportunity? I could have never developed my drumming skills and ultimately lost so much passion and maybe even given up altogether. BUT I didn’t, and now I couldn’t imagine my life without the drums. I still play them almost everyday, even now!
Lugo’s choices were definitely the wrong approach to attaining your dreams. Stealing something from someone else to better your life is never the right way to achieving success. But on the flip side, his vision of himself, his self confidence, and his potential is exactly what more of us need in life. You have a higher calling and limitless potential despite your circumstances. You have to be relentless in achieving your goals but they ARE attainable. You have to be a DOER if it’s something you know you deserve. Think about your life now. Whether it be a promotion, a new job, your first body building show, or even a date with that special someone you wish to see yourself with. You have to see yourself in that role and become someone who does things to make it happen. Without giving away too much of the movie, when Lugo is sitting his motivational speaker’s seminar, Jonny Wu has three pieces of advice for the class. “Get a goal, get a plan, and get up off your ass!” It’s very simple and scary. But I know anyone reading this has that potential. So let’s make it happen fam!